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Pear Tree Farmhouse Swineshead

Pear Tree Farmhouse in 1961
Pear Tree Farmhouse in 1961 [Z53/120/2]

Pear Tree Farmhouse was listed by the former Department of Environment in 1964 as Grade II, of special interest. The house dates from the early 18th century and is built of colour-washed rough-cast over a timber frame; it has a tile roof.

On 29th November 1918 E.L.Welstead's estates in Colmworth, Riseley and Swineshead as well as Hargrave [Northamptonshire] and Catworth, Molesworth and Tilbrook [Huntingdonshire] were put up for sale by auction at the White Lion Hotel, Kimbolton [Huntingdonshire]. Lot 2 was simply described as "A Valuable Accommodation Grass Farm pleasantly situated in the Village of Swineshead" but the description makes it clear that it is Pear Tree Farm.

The farm was largely let to Miss Mary Anne Reynolds at £63 per annum and comprised 30 acres, 1 rood, 35 poles. The farmhouse was described as: "A Convenient Well-built Brick, Stud and Tiled Dwellinghouse, containing Entrance Hall, 2 good Sitting Rooms, Pantry, Dairy, Kitchen with Bread Oven, Pump and Sink fitted, Landing and 5 Bedrooms Brick and Tiled Closet. Small Ornamental Front Garden, partly walled in Kitchen Garden".

The rest of the farm included a small orchard and six grass fields. There were also two cottages, one occupied by Edward Lewis at a rent of £3 per annum, built of brick and tile and containing an entrance passage, two sitting rooms, two bedrooms and a lean-to pantry with garden, coal barn, wood store and earth closet. The other cottage, of stud, plaster and thatch, was disused and lay on the Melchbourne Road.

The farm buildings were described thus: "Capital Set of Brick and Tiled Farm Buildings, comprising Corn Store, Calf Place, Coal Place, Stable, 2 Cow Places, Cow Lodge for 5 Cows, and Calf Pen and Hay Store, Timber and Tiled Open Hovel and Pigsty with run".

Pear Tree Farmhouse May 2008
Pear Tree Farmhouse May 2008

In 1927 Swineshead was valued under the terms of the Rating and Valuation Act 1925; every piece of land and building in the country was assessed to determine the rates to be paid on it. The valuer visiting Pear Tree Farm [DV1/H52/42] noted that it was owned and occupied by J.M.Measures. the farm comprised 30 acres and the valuer noted: "Saw Mr.Measures said he was short of water in Summer". He also remarked: "Nice house, homestead very small outbuildings".

The house comprised a reception room, kitchen, scullery and dairy with five bedrooms above and an earth closet outside; the valuer noted: "water from pump in house". The homestead comprised: a brick and tile henhouse; a stable for one horse; two calf pens; a cow house for six beasts; a brick, wood and tile calf pen; a wood and tile pigsty; a store barn; a wood and corrugated iron six bay open shed used as a hay store; a two bay cart shed; a wood barn and a trap house. In a field lay a brick and tile cart shed, a loose box and a brick, wood and tile store barn, noted as being "bad".

Bedfordshire & Luton Archives & Records Service also has sale particulars of Pear Tree Farmhouse from 2008 [Z449/2/79] when the house is described as comprising: a sitting room measuring 13 feet 7 inches by 12 feet 8 inches; a family room measuring 13 feet 7 inches by 13 feet 2 inches; a kitchen/breakfast room measuring 19 feet 11 inches by 15 feet 6 inches and a cloakroom downstairs. Four bedrooms, a bathroom and shower room lay on the first floor. Outside were a garage, a small store room, a side garden, a small store room, a wood shed, a store room measuring 12 feet 10 inches by 7 feet 7 inches, a utility room measuring 12 feet 6 inches by 8 feet 5 inches, four stables and a wood shed.